Handful of GE job postings provide a peek at Boston recruiting
General Electric Co. is hiring for a small number of corporate jobs in Boston, offering an early glimpse at the kind of work that may follow as the industrial giant relocates its headquarters from suburban Connecticut.
The job listings, posted recently on GE’s careers website, cover marketing, communications, and employee benefits work. One position, director of culture strategy, leads employee communications initiatives and serves as “a strategic advisor to senior executives.” Another, senior personnel manager, designs and oversees payroll programs for several GE units.
The four positions being advertised by GE are a whisper of the roughly 800 jobs expected to land in the Seaport District when GE finishes its relocation from Fairfield, Conn. That number will include 200 corporate staffers and 600 tech-oriented employees.
GE expects to start relocating workers to temporary offices this summer, with the full move finished in 2018.
But the beginning of GE’s push into the region is catching the attention of recruiters and hiring consultants in the Boston area, many of whom are jockeying to help GE fill new positions in a competitive job market.
“I think that we’re all sitting here saying, how can we get a seat at the table with these guys?” said Dave Sanford, a vice president at Waltham-based firm WinterWyman. “I’m guessing they’re just getting an avalanche of phone calls from everybody that’s in the recruiting business.”
GE already has significant operations in Massachusetts, including a jet engine factory in Lynn. The company is also moving its US Healthcare Life Sciences unit to Marlborough, and previously said it would build a lighting and energy technology division in the region.
GE is also closing a valve factory in Avon, shifting about 300 jobs to Florida.
Moving a corporate headquarters often means filling mid-level and general administrative jobs in the new city as some employees choose not to relocate. Top executives are likely to get corporate apartments, work remotely, or commute to the new location, hiring specialists said.
“Certain key players will probably still find their way up to Boston,” Sanford said. “It’s not like they’re moving to the dark side of the moon. This is a good place to live.”
Larger economic factors will also play a role in how quickly GE moves its jobs to Boston, said Clark Waterfall, a managing director at Boston recruiting firm BSG Team Ventures. Moving in stages, he said, allows the company to avoid overhiring amid uncertain economic growth.
“A corporate move like this actually is a terrific serendipity for GE as it functions as a hidden forced attrition mechanism,” Waterfall said. “They don’t have to announce headquarters layoffs in an effort at cost reduction that results in negative PR.”
GE spokesman Seth Martin said the corporate jobs being advertised in Boston are open because of normal turnover at the company.
GE may not find it terribly easy to hire in its new home, however.
Massachusetts had a 4.7 percent unemployment rate in December, compared with 5 percent nationally and 5.2 percent in Connecticut. White-collar professionals like the ones GE is seeking are in particular demand, said Brendan King, chief executive of Waltham recruiting firm King & Bishop.
“It’s kind of like, join the party. The unemployment rate is very low in the United States right now, and it gets lower the more you dive into professional services,” King said. “They’re jumping into a tight market that I anticipate is not going to slacken anytime soon.”